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Updated Jan 03, 2024

How to Achieve Success With Small Business Digital Asset Management

Digital asset management boosts productivity, improves collaboration, and saves time and money.

Written By: David TrounceCommunity Member
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To reach potential and existing customers, small businesses use digital assets – such as images, videos, streaming music, online catalogs, e-books and other forms of media – in marketing campaigns. As such, small businesses need digital asset management (DAM) systems to find these assets quickly and, in turn, create, track, organize and distribute them.

In today’s challenging economic environment, small businesses need to focus on cost-effective DAM solutions with the highest return on investment to remain profitable. Innovations in technology enable companies to benefit from cloud-based communications and DAM systems to increase reliability, functionality and productivity.

What is digital asset management?

Digital asset management encompasses all guidelines and best practices for the sharing of digital files among several parties. DAM includes not just what you see when you open your files, but also the information underlying them, including metadata and engagement tracking. DAM governs the cloud systems to which your team uploads and stores its work, enables the sending of digital assets to other parties and builds the backbone of most modern companies.

Editor’s note: Looking for document management software for your business? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

How do digital asset management systems help businesses?

Small business DAM solutions are ideal for organizing, storing and sharing the rich media resources of a company. That’s because different teams, channels and departments need to store and share creative assets – such as videos, images, podcasts and media in other formats – to accomplish the organization’s goals.

In an era defined by digital communication and remote work, effectively managing digital assets is the only real way to adequately streamline your workflow. Without managing your digital assets, you can’t easily convey key information – such as project updates or newly generated invoices – to your clients and vendors. DAM gives your company a virtual file cabinet with folders for all of your needs – a space that holds much more information than a physical file cabinet ever could.

FYIDid you know
Document management systems – or virtual file cabinets – offer different tiers with distinct functionality to accommodate your business’s ever-changing needs.

Who benefits from digital asset management software?

Virtually everyone involved in any business transaction benefits from DAM software. That’s largely because proper management of your digital assets puts all your key materials in reach with just a few clicks while storing these files in the cloud. As such, you’ll never spend money or time searching for or replacing lost materials, and you and your team will benefit from DAM software.

Your clients, vendors and other business partners will benefit from DAM software as well. You’ll need just a few seconds to share files stored in your DAM system with people from outside your organization, and you can easily do so while permitting only certain people to access your files. Most DAM platforms include security safeguards that limit access to a predetermined group, so you can share sensitive files outside your organization with minimal worry of an information breach. With this fortified security comes more trust between you and the many third parties with which you work.

What are some useful digital assets for small businesses?

Digital assets are pieces of content that are stored digitally and are valuable to a business, a consumer or a user. These are the most common types:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Slide decks, such as Google Slides and PowerPoint presentations
  • PDFs
  • Excel spreadsheets
  • Text files
  • Word documents
  • Graphics, such as logos
  • HTML documents and associated files, such as CSS
  • Audio files

Some digital assets are more valuable than others. For example, videos and photos from a one-time event can’t be replaced. Small businesses often pay a licensing fee for the right to use a photo or video. If the company can’t find the asset, the only options are to pay another licensing fee, which is a waste of money.

Another example is a digital user manual or e-book that contains a variety of assets, such as images, diagrams and charts. When you are creating a project like this, having an effective DAM solution in place will save you a lot of time and money.

How can small businesses benefit from digital asset management?

The digital revolution drives consumers’ behavior and expectations. Digital and marketing tools make companies more accessible and help businesses connect with their customers.

Traditionally, DAM systems were too expensive for many small businesses, but the cloud has revolutionized today’s DAM software by delivering a better user experience and more features at prices smaller companies can afford.

By using DAM software and tools, small businesses can boost productivity, improve collaboration, save time and reduce costs. Here are some of the ways small businesses benefit from DAM software:

  • Saving time by integrating DAM software into existing workflows
  • Adding a layer of protection from theft and privacy with cloud-based DAM systems
  • Spending less money on hardware storage with cloud-based DAM systems
  • Improving efficiency by using a DAM tool, rather than a team of people, to handle digital assets
  • Increasing productivity with faster deployment of marketing materials and campaigns
  • Easily accessing assets for team members and co-workers from one centralized location
  • Fine-tuning how assets are uploaded and distributed, such as by setting expiration dates and file permissions
  • Ensuring brand consistency by reducing the chances of someone using an older version of branded materials across campaigns and channels
  • Saving time and money by reusing assets

[Read related article: The Best Document Management Software of 2024]

How do you implement digital asset management?

These are some of the most common reasons small businesses implement DAM systems:

  • They want to reduce the number of asset requests from co-workers or team members.
  • They need to centralize assets that are spread out over various cloud storage systems and personal hard drives.
  • They are tired of spending time finding the files they need to complete a task or project.

The decision to use a DAM system is the first step for small businesses to get control over their digital assets and determine the best way to manage and analyze New Technology File System (NTFS) permissions and data streams. However, without a comprehensive strategy, assets can get lost, be stored without proper security or become disorganized.

Before you implement a DAM system, develop a coordinated strategy that will identify what the assets are, why they have been created and how they should be used. Follow these steps to get started:

1. Outline your goals.

Focus on the reasons for implementing a DAM system, and outline your main objectives for the software. Define a coordinated approach to creating or acquiring digital assets, including a method for handling third-party licensing issues and version control.

If your goal is to improve the efficiency of digital communication systems, becoming aware of cloud communication trends, along with cost and productivity benefits in cloud-based communication assets, can enable you to move into new areas of technology and communication efficiency.

If your goal is to improve internal processes, use process management software to help you manage your assets, inventory, staff and other aspects of your business in productive ways. These systems enable expansion and improve accountability, and they can grow with your business.

2. Identify your criteria for digital asset management software.

Analyze existing workflows to compile a list of criteria for choosing the right software. Consider these factors:

  • How many current users will need access to your system, and what is your projected growth (need to scale)?
  • Which hosting option will work best for your company?
  • How many people will need access to the assets?

3. Perform a content audit.

By conducting an audit of your assets, you will get a clear overview of what you currently have, how it is being used, and why it was created or acquired. This information will help you establish requirements for how to use and manage the assets and improve your content, ultimately resulting in a better return on your investment.

4. Understand the customer journey.

Understanding the customer journey enables businesses to know what they are building and for whom. This knowledge helps to translate business requirements into digital asset specifications that you can measure and optimize to achieve business goals.

Did You Know?Did you know
Creating a customer journey map can help you understand all the ways your ideal customer can encounter your brand.

5. Organize the life cycle of digital assets.

The life cycle of an asset encompasses the following steps:

  • Creating or acquiring the asset
  • Verifying the asset was added to the system without data errors
  • Checking the quality 
  • Updating, extracting or entering metadata information
  • Ensuring asset retrieval is a smooth process based on available criteria
  • Converting asset formation that is suitable for editing or delivery
  • Exporting asset files, including all necessary components
  • Storing and archiving large files in cost-effective long-term storage locations
  • Distributing the asset

6. Determine the software requirements.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for DAM systems. Analyze your needs and requirements before spending money on a solution. Small businesses will likely need less storage space than larger organizations with multiple departments and locations. Choose the system that meets your objectives and needs.

7. Consider how digital asset management will integrate with other systems.

Small businesses utilize many systems and processes to accomplish their business goals. Be sure the DAM software you choose integrates well with the other systems your company uses.

TipBottom line
Selecting software compatibility with your customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning program can enhance the efficiency of your business by enabling you to access, edit, back up and monitor digital files and documents created within these programs.

8. Implement digital asset management.

Implement the DAM system in small steps by identifying the top priorities and acting on those first. Put together a task force that will implement the system. Spend the necessary time to plan what will work best for everyone who will be using the system, and include them in the planning process. This approach helps teams work together to build an effective solution before it is rolled out company-wide.

9. Set up best practices and enforce guidelines.

To reduce the number of errors, train your team on how to make the best use of the DAM software you select. Explain the steps, reasons and goals of the system, and encourage a culture of shared responsibility.

10. Use workflows.

It’s better to assign tasks to specific users than to task everyone with every step in the workflow. Build workflows that define these operations:

  • Obtaining files
  • Attaching metadata information 
  • Modifying or renaming original files
  • Organizing, cataloging and tagging 
  • Documenting the process in writing

Small businesses can maintain control over their digital assets and coordinate user access to content by implementing a DAM system. Having a single document repository for all assets will streamline the DAM process.

Bottom LineBottom line
Businesses that choose to use DAM software can save time, reduce costs, increase productivity and ensure brand loyalty, among other benefits.

What is the future of digital asset management?

Researchers expect DAM software to thrive continuously in the next seven years. A research report by Market Research Future predicts the DAM software market will experience a compound annual growth rate of more than 13 percent by 2030, with the market reaching a value of approximately $14 billion. 

Compared to other major geographies – Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa – the North American region is expected to hold the top position in the market. The success of the North American region will directly reflect the United States’ part as a leading growth contributor and the success of the U.S.-based Adobe Systems, which is using advanced algorithms to maintain data integrity.

Sean Peek and Max Freedman contributed to this article. 

Written By: David TrounceCommunity Member
David is a small business marketing and web design consultant and the founder of Mallee Blue Media. David lives in Australia and is also a contributor to Lendio, Power Retail and Digital Marketing Magazine.
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